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For those that have overcame PF???

Posted by Jim C on 8/26/02 at 22:55 (093627)

Greetings,
A question for those that have overcame PF. What does it look like when you heal this condition, I mean is it slow steady progress or do you just wake up one day and it is gone? For me, my progress has been very up and down. If I take real good care of my self (namely staying off my feet)I can be pain free in a couple of days, but soon as I'm back on my feet the pain comes roaring back. In the past week I have noticed a difference in the pain. Now it seems to be isolated in my heels(stone bruise feeling)with a fatigue like feeling. My heels now stop hurting as soon as I sit down. Before I had a more of a achy/throbbing feeling that didn't nessacarly stop when I rested my feet. I'm certainly hoping that this is a positive change.

Jim C.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Sandy H. on 8/27/02 at 01:15 (093631)

I'm not over it yet but if you are lucky you can expect it to stop hurting unless you are standing on it or walking on it. I've been like that for many months now after a time when it throbbed at rest too
but still hurts when I overdo it.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Julie on 8/27/02 at 03:38 (093633)

Jim

It's tempting to reply 'how long is a piece of string?' The only answer to your question is that - like everything else about PF - it varies with the individual. The original cause, how long it was allowed to go on before seeking treatment, the skill with which it has been diagnosed and treated, the age and occupation of the patient, his or her understanding of the condition and determination to heal. And probably a dozen other variables.

My own case was, luckily, one of the classic straightforward ones. It came on suddenly (probably as a consequence of a slight back injury) and healed slowly (to an improvement of 95%) in six months. For the first two months it was intensely painful. Then it began to get better, and continued to get better fairly steadily (and to me seemingly slowly, though I know now that it was mercifully quite quick!) over the next three months. During those three months there were 'leaps forward', and a few setbacks owing to over-doing things after the leaps.

At six months I reached a plateau (the 95% better time) which lasted for about another six months. During that time I didn't limit my activities, was 'back to normal' in terms of weight-bearing, but nearly always had a little pain in the morning the day after a long walk (or a long stand), for instance, and twinges now and then. But these disappeared quickly and did not turn into 'setbacks'.

I was happy with that, and could have lived with it forever. But that stage ended a year ago, and for the past year I have been what I consider 'healed' - no problems, no twinges, no pain. However, I reckon that if there was a weakness - in my structure, my biomechanics, my tissue, my immune system, or whatever - that predisposed me to PF, there is no reason to assume it has magically disappeared. So I stay aware and vigilant.

I learned a lot from having PF, and know that I could deal with it again if I had to. Of course I hope I don't have to!

This is only one person's experience. I hope others will tell you of theirs - which will probably be different.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

nancy s. on 8/27/02 at 05:41 (093637)

hi jim, it sounds like a positive change to me.

for me, healing was a roller coaster ride -- up and down, up and down, to the point of exhaustion and, sometimes, great discouragement. but gradually the steps backward became smaller, and shorter, and the feeling of relief and the ability to do more with less pain became predominant. so don't let the relapses send you into despair.

here is what helped me most (though it's very individual, as julie says): birkenstocks, a lengthy period of mostly rest, only non-weight-bearing stretching and strengthening, six months of physical therapy, and medication from a homeopathic doctor. the other doctor, who ordered the pt and helped me in a variety of ways, was a sports medicine doc. in my case, i was unlucky with my choice of podiatrists.

after three and a half years, my feet are not perfect -- they still get tired and achy if i overdo -- but taping is now helping that some. i believe i'll have to be vigilant about my feet for the rest of my life, but the important thing is that i can once again take walks, work, and not have my life absolutely controlled by foot pain.

best of luck to you, jim. have patience, and keep doing the things you discover are best for your feet.

nancy

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Shaira on 8/27/02 at 07:09 (093642)

It seems to me that healing has everything to do with shoes and stretching. Stretching before you get out of bed. Making sure your shoes are comfortable for your feet with lots of cushioning.

I don't think I'll ever be healed. But I'm better.

Also, making sure you have a good foot massage machine really helps as well.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

ScottW on 8/27/02 at 08:19 (093648)

My feet ache and throb even after sitting too. It seems that my feet get that extreme fatigue like feeling very quickly after standing or walking for any length of time. I'm glad to hear you have improved somewhat and that the throb/ache goes away with rest. I have had trouble getting any progress with my condition. I would be interested in knowing your story as to how you got this condition and what tests/doctors have confirmed your diagnosis?

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

R C on 8/27/02 at 09:07 (093653)

In my case it was a long, slow process, but I would call my recovery complete.

My injury was not quite a sudden onset -- it happened while I was moving furniture and boxes through a long weekend. Having flat feet and being a daily runner may have contributed in some way.

In two years, I went through two podiatrists and one physical therapist with no improvement but some worsening of symptoms.

Finally tried an orthopedic doctor, who put me in a hard cast. After the cast was removed, I continued on crutches for several more weeks while getting physical therapy. During this time I could barely put any weight on my foot, but I could tell using the thumb-poke test that the partial rupture at the insertion point of the fascia had healed considerably.

I gradually started walking without crutches, and when I did I taped my foot. The pain at the injury site sloooowly went away. (Four months?)

I now am completely symptom free. I still tape my foot from time to time (e.g., before golfing or lots of walking) to prevent re-injury. I no longer run for exercise, and I avoid heavy lifting, figuring that it is not worth the risk.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

carrie on 8/27/02 at 10:02 (093661)

When I got rid of mine it was like it faded away and within a week was just gone totally. Unfortunately mine has now come back with a vengeance. My advice is not to do the things I did that made it come back so bad, 1. don't run even if you feel better, give it up, it is not worth it. 2. Don't wear bad shoes, me I wore high heels and ran. That is why now I am 10 times as bad as I was before. 3. Don't ever work through the pain, if you feel pain, go easy
hope this helps, wish I had not been so quick to get back to running, but I am done with it forever!

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Andrue on 8/27/02 at 11:40 (093681)

And as a second opinion I'll agree with your description. I'm am (just) losing the throbbing when I rest and if I can still ellicit pain if I stand just right but most of the time I'm pain free.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Suzanne D on 8/27/02 at 11:51 (093683)

For me, Carrie, it was something like taking 5 steps forward and then sliding back 2 or 3. I would realize I was improving when I looked back and compared how I felt then to some time in the past.

The first big improvement was when I stopped waking up with the intense throbbing in my feet. The next big step was when it no longer hurt when I was sitting - especially driving.

Then came the times when I could walk and not feel pain with every step. Just now I took my children to PE class and realized on the way back to my room that I had not thought about my feet all day today until now! That is major improvement for me, and I do not take it lightly and will never take my feet for granted again.

It sounds to me that you are on the healing track. I hope so!

Good luck to you,
Suzanne :-)

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

carrie on 8/27/02 at 13:14 (093699)

see I will do my pilates and stretching and feel pain free in my merrels around the house then, as soon as I get up and go outside, it starts in. It does seem that it is one step forward 5 back !
I am with you, no more taking things for granted every again!

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Jim C on 8/27/02 at 16:59 (093719)

RC,
When I first came to this site, I read your post about being in a cast and then using crutches for weeks afterwards. I thought that to be a very extreme solution, but as time goes by the cast and crutch thing is looking more acceptable. But I have alot of other conservative things to give time to work, for instance, I have ordered night splints. That, along with taping , rest as much as I can and ice with heat afterwards are my main points of treatment, I think I will give that some more time and see what happens. But it is good to know I have plenty of more options to try. I think overall I have gotten better or at least I'm learning what not to do, such as giving my 9 year old son piggy back rides, standing with my weight on one foot, going bare foot on a hard floor, stooping down on the balls of my feet and direct/aggressive stretching of the fascia. I think most of the progress that I have made has been due to avoiding setbacks.
The most effective thing for me has been rest, but it seems that no matter how much I stay off my feet, as soon as resume what little standing or walking that I do, I'm back to sqaure one. So I think your crutch/cast solution would be effective by giving the tissue the time it needs to heal.

Jim C.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Leon S. on 8/27/02 at 19:08 (093737)

The more I read these comments about the length of time for healing is making me more depressed than I was before. I'm curious, Jim, about your comments about the 'direct/aggressive stretching of the fascia.' Do you mean the weight bearing stretches that I've read about? What was your experience with 'Julies Stretches'?

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Jim C on 8/27/02 at 20:25 (093745)

Leon,
I was doing a stretch where you stand on the edge of a step on the ball of your foot and lower your ankle to stretch the fascia, I was doing this 4 and 5 times a day with my full weight on one foot(I'm a more the better type guy)the pain got so bad I couldn't walk! As soon as I stopped this particular stretch I experienced immience improvement, though it took alot of ice.
As for 'Julies Stretches' I highly recommend because they are very gentle and along with the breathing tips she gives 'very relaxing'.
My rule of thumb is if it hurts 'Stop' and if it feels good 'Do it more'.

Jim

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Julie on 8/28/02 at 03:14 (093779)

Jim, the 'stair stretch' is diabolical. I can't understand why it is ever counselled for PF. I'm glad you stopped doing it - and glad you mentioned it here, in case anyone else is still doing it. And I like your rule of thumb.

In another post, you mentioned 'not going barefoot on hard floors'. Do you go barefoot on carpet, or anywhere else? If you do, consider not doing that. You may find that helps you. Keep a pair of slip-on sandals by your bedside and don't let your bare feet ever touch the ground. Birkenstocks are lauded ad infinitum here, and I know they don't suit everybody, but they have helped many, and the Arizona sandals were a life-saver for me when they were recommended on this site at the onset of PF. Two years later, my Arizonas are still in use, still by my bedside when not on my feet in the house, and probably always will be.

I'm glad you're finding the yoga foot exercises helpful, and the breathing relaxing. The breathing is an important part of them.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Sandy H. on 8/27/02 at 01:15 (093631)

I'm not over it yet but if you are lucky you can expect it to stop hurting unless you are standing on it or walking on it. I've been like that for many months now after a time when it throbbed at rest too
but still hurts when I overdo it.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Julie on 8/27/02 at 03:38 (093633)

Jim

It's tempting to reply 'how long is a piece of string?' The only answer to your question is that - like everything else about PF - it varies with the individual. The original cause, how long it was allowed to go on before seeking treatment, the skill with which it has been diagnosed and treated, the age and occupation of the patient, his or her understanding of the condition and determination to heal. And probably a dozen other variables.

My own case was, luckily, one of the classic straightforward ones. It came on suddenly (probably as a consequence of a slight back injury) and healed slowly (to an improvement of 95%) in six months. For the first two months it was intensely painful. Then it began to get better, and continued to get better fairly steadily (and to me seemingly slowly, though I know now that it was mercifully quite quick!) over the next three months. During those three months there were 'leaps forward', and a few setbacks owing to over-doing things after the leaps.

At six months I reached a plateau (the 95% better time) which lasted for about another six months. During that time I didn't limit my activities, was 'back to normal' in terms of weight-bearing, but nearly always had a little pain in the morning the day after a long walk (or a long stand), for instance, and twinges now and then. But these disappeared quickly and did not turn into 'setbacks'.

I was happy with that, and could have lived with it forever. But that stage ended a year ago, and for the past year I have been what I consider 'healed' - no problems, no twinges, no pain. However, I reckon that if there was a weakness - in my structure, my biomechanics, my tissue, my immune system, or whatever - that predisposed me to PF, there is no reason to assume it has magically disappeared. So I stay aware and vigilant.

I learned a lot from having PF, and know that I could deal with it again if I had to. Of course I hope I don't have to!

This is only one person's experience. I hope others will tell you of theirs - which will probably be different.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

nancy s. on 8/27/02 at 05:41 (093637)

hi jim, it sounds like a positive change to me.

for me, healing was a roller coaster ride -- up and down, up and down, to the point of exhaustion and, sometimes, great discouragement. but gradually the steps backward became smaller, and shorter, and the feeling of relief and the ability to do more with less pain became predominant. so don't let the relapses send you into despair.

here is what helped me most (though it's very individual, as julie says): birkenstocks, a lengthy period of mostly rest, only non-weight-bearing stretching and strengthening, six months of physical therapy, and medication from a homeopathic doctor. the other doctor, who ordered the pt and helped me in a variety of ways, was a sports medicine doc. in my case, i was unlucky with my choice of podiatrists.

after three and a half years, my feet are not perfect -- they still get tired and achy if i overdo -- but taping is now helping that some. i believe i'll have to be vigilant about my feet for the rest of my life, but the important thing is that i can once again take walks, work, and not have my life absolutely controlled by foot pain.

best of luck to you, jim. have patience, and keep doing the things you discover are best for your feet.

nancy

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Shaira on 8/27/02 at 07:09 (093642)

It seems to me that healing has everything to do with shoes and stretching. Stretching before you get out of bed. Making sure your shoes are comfortable for your feet with lots of cushioning.

I don't think I'll ever be healed. But I'm better.

Also, making sure you have a good foot massage machine really helps as well.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

ScottW on 8/27/02 at 08:19 (093648)

My feet ache and throb even after sitting too. It seems that my feet get that extreme fatigue like feeling very quickly after standing or walking for any length of time. I'm glad to hear you have improved somewhat and that the throb/ache goes away with rest. I have had trouble getting any progress with my condition. I would be interested in knowing your story as to how you got this condition and what tests/doctors have confirmed your diagnosis?

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

R C on 8/27/02 at 09:07 (093653)

In my case it was a long, slow process, but I would call my recovery complete.

My injury was not quite a sudden onset -- it happened while I was moving furniture and boxes through a long weekend. Having flat feet and being a daily runner may have contributed in some way.

In two years, I went through two podiatrists and one physical therapist with no improvement but some worsening of symptoms.

Finally tried an orthopedic doctor, who put me in a hard cast. After the cast was removed, I continued on crutches for several more weeks while getting physical therapy. During this time I could barely put any weight on my foot, but I could tell using the thumb-poke test that the partial rupture at the insertion point of the fascia had healed considerably.

I gradually started walking without crutches, and when I did I taped my foot. The pain at the injury site sloooowly went away. (Four months?)

I now am completely symptom free. I still tape my foot from time to time (e.g., before golfing or lots of walking) to prevent re-injury. I no longer run for exercise, and I avoid heavy lifting, figuring that it is not worth the risk.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

carrie on 8/27/02 at 10:02 (093661)

When I got rid of mine it was like it faded away and within a week was just gone totally. Unfortunately mine has now come back with a vengeance. My advice is not to do the things I did that made it come back so bad, 1. don't run even if you feel better, give it up, it is not worth it. 2. Don't wear bad shoes, me I wore high heels and ran. That is why now I am 10 times as bad as I was before. 3. Don't ever work through the pain, if you feel pain, go easy
hope this helps, wish I had not been so quick to get back to running, but I am done with it forever!

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Andrue on 8/27/02 at 11:40 (093681)

And as a second opinion I'll agree with your description. I'm am (just) losing the throbbing when I rest and if I can still ellicit pain if I stand just right but most of the time I'm pain free.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Suzanne D on 8/27/02 at 11:51 (093683)

For me, Carrie, it was something like taking 5 steps forward and then sliding back 2 or 3. I would realize I was improving when I looked back and compared how I felt then to some time in the past.

The first big improvement was when I stopped waking up with the intense throbbing in my feet. The next big step was when it no longer hurt when I was sitting - especially driving.

Then came the times when I could walk and not feel pain with every step. Just now I took my children to PE class and realized on the way back to my room that I had not thought about my feet all day today until now! That is major improvement for me, and I do not take it lightly and will never take my feet for granted again.

It sounds to me that you are on the healing track. I hope so!

Good luck to you,
Suzanne :-)

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

carrie on 8/27/02 at 13:14 (093699)

see I will do my pilates and stretching and feel pain free in my merrels around the house then, as soon as I get up and go outside, it starts in. It does seem that it is one step forward 5 back !
I am with you, no more taking things for granted every again!

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Jim C on 8/27/02 at 16:59 (093719)

RC,
When I first came to this site, I read your post about being in a cast and then using crutches for weeks afterwards. I thought that to be a very extreme solution, but as time goes by the cast and crutch thing is looking more acceptable. But I have alot of other conservative things to give time to work, for instance, I have ordered night splints. That, along with taping , rest as much as I can and ice with heat afterwards are my main points of treatment, I think I will give that some more time and see what happens. But it is good to know I have plenty of more options to try. I think overall I have gotten better or at least I'm learning what not to do, such as giving my 9 year old son piggy back rides, standing with my weight on one foot, going bare foot on a hard floor, stooping down on the balls of my feet and direct/aggressive stretching of the fascia. I think most of the progress that I have made has been due to avoiding setbacks.
The most effective thing for me has been rest, but it seems that no matter how much I stay off my feet, as soon as resume what little standing or walking that I do, I'm back to sqaure one. So I think your crutch/cast solution would be effective by giving the tissue the time it needs to heal.

Jim C.

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Leon S. on 8/27/02 at 19:08 (093737)

The more I read these comments about the length of time for healing is making me more depressed than I was before. I'm curious, Jim, about your comments about the 'direct/aggressive stretching of the fascia.' Do you mean the weight bearing stretches that I've read about? What was your experience with 'Julies Stretches'?

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Jim C on 8/27/02 at 20:25 (093745)

Leon,
I was doing a stretch where you stand on the edge of a step on the ball of your foot and lower your ankle to stretch the fascia, I was doing this 4 and 5 times a day with my full weight on one foot(I'm a more the better type guy)the pain got so bad I couldn't walk! As soon as I stopped this particular stretch I experienced immience improvement, though it took alot of ice.
As for 'Julies Stretches' I highly recommend because they are very gentle and along with the breathing tips she gives 'very relaxing'.
My rule of thumb is if it hurts 'Stop' and if it feels good 'Do it more'.

Jim

Re: For those that have overcame PF???

Julie on 8/28/02 at 03:14 (093779)

Jim, the 'stair stretch' is diabolical. I can't understand why it is ever counselled for PF. I'm glad you stopped doing it - and glad you mentioned it here, in case anyone else is still doing it. And I like your rule of thumb.

In another post, you mentioned 'not going barefoot on hard floors'. Do you go barefoot on carpet, or anywhere else? If you do, consider not doing that. You may find that helps you. Keep a pair of slip-on sandals by your bedside and don't let your bare feet ever touch the ground. Birkenstocks are lauded ad infinitum here, and I know they don't suit everybody, but they have helped many, and the Arizona sandals were a life-saver for me when they were recommended on this site at the onset of PF. Two years later, my Arizonas are still in use, still by my bedside when not on my feet in the house, and probably always will be.

I'm glad you're finding the yoga foot exercises helpful, and the breathing relaxing. The breathing is an important part of them.